Utah women nearing move
University beat • Huntsman Center in volleyball team's future.
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Sooner or later, it had to happen.

The Utah women's volleyball team, due to its move into the Pac-12, eventually had to begin playing in the Huntsman Center.

Although, for now, the Utes will continue to play in the cosy confines of Crimson Court, on Sept. 21, when Utah (7-4) opens its conference home season against Stanford, it will be in the Huntsman Center.

This will be the first match there since Oct. 1, 1993, when Utah hosted against BYU. The holes for the netting have been drilled and the court layout is nearly complete and the Utes have begun to practice in the arena that's been home to basketball and gymnastics.

"It's a big change for us," Utah coach Beth Launiere said. "It's a different feel. Different depth perception."

Right now, the Utes are preparing for their annual Utah Classic on Friday and Saturday at Crimson Court. Utah will play a doubleheader on Friday, starting against Cal Poly at noon, before taking on Nevada at 7 p.m.

"Honestly, moving into the Huntsman Center full time is something that's been in discussion for a number of years," Launiere said. "We'll play a match and see how it feels. [Stanford] is a big draw and a big challenge."

Since 1994, the Utes are 183-58 in Crimson Court. But a new conference means a different level of recruiting. And nearly all of the Pac-12 teams play in expansive arenas.

Five Pac-12 teams are ranked in the top 10 of the AVCA Coaches Poll, including No. 2 UCLA, followed by No. 3 USC, No. 5 Washington, No. 7 Stanford and No. 9 Oregon.

For now, only the Stanford match is set for the Huntsman Center.

"It's a new ball game," Launiere said.

Utah State goalkeeper honored

Utah State goalkeeper Ashlyn Mulford is on her way to what could be another special season for the Aggies. The West Valley City native did not allow a goal in two games to earn her second Western Athletic Conference Goalkeeper of the Week this season.

USU (5-1-2), which qualified for its first-ever NCAA Tournament in 2011, defeated Eastern Washington 1-0 and played to a scoreless tie against Portland State. Mulford had 15 total saves in the two matches

Utah State hosts No. 22 Washington on Thursday at 4 p.m.

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